Lee Brother’s Cookbook Giveaway

February 26, 2013 | By | Comments (60)
The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen

Photo by Ralph Lee Anderson

Matt Lee and Ted Lee’s third cookbook is a love letter to Charleston, the capital of the Lowcountry. The James Beard Award-winning authors bring the vibrant food culture of this great Southern city to life, giving readers insider access to the best recipes and stories Charleston has to offer.

The best part? We’ve got our hands on two brand-new copies and we’re fixin’ to give them away!

One of the things we love most about this cookbook is that every recipe has a story, a link back to the land that inspired it. Of course, all of the iconic dishes are there – She-Crab Soup, Hoppin’ John, and Huguenot Torte. But they are also joined by the Lee Brothers’ inventive new twists to flavors that make Charleston a top food destination.

Below, we’ve included one of our favorites, Savory Benne Wafers. Check out more of their delectable recipes in our backyard party menu.

In order to win a copy of the cookbook, tell us your twist on a classic dish. How does your recipe stand apart from the original? Our two favorite answers will receive a copy of Matt and Ted Lee’s Charleston Kitchen Cookbook. Click here for official rules.

Savory Benne Wafers

Savory Benne Wafers

Photo by Jennifer Davick

Benne is the term for “sesame” in the Bantu dialects of western Africa, and although sesame seeds came to the Lowcounty during the slave trade nearly three centuries ago, the word is still commonly used among Charlestonians, both in home kitchens and on restaurant menus. The crisp Sweet Benne Wafers are served with afternoon tea or after-dark dinner drinks, and sold in tins in grocery stores and gift shops. Homemade Savory Benne Seed Wafers are far rarer, but they’re outstanding – an addictive savory cookie for popping by the dozens during the cocktail hour.


    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tsp. benne (sesame) seeds
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1/4 cup ice-cold water
    • Parchment paper


1. Preheat oven to 325°. Cook sesame seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 6 to 7 minutes or until browned and fragrant. (Seeds will be the color of pecans.) Transfer to a plate. Cool completely (about 20 minutes).

2. Process flour, next 2 ingredients, and 1 Tbsp. seeds in a food processor 30 seconds or until seeds are finely ground. (Seeds should be the same consistency as flour.) Add butter, and pulse 5 or 6 times or until mixture resembles small peas and is crumbly. Add half of ice-cold water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, and pulse 2 or 3 times or just until combined. Add 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds and remaining water; process 10 to 15 seconds or until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl.

3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a 1 1/2-inch-thick flat disk; cut into 4 wedges.

4. Dust top of 1 dough wedge with flour; roll dough to 1/16-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with 2 tsp. sesame seeds; roll gently to press seeds into dough. Cut dough with a 2-inch round cutter. Place wafers 1/2 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Repeat procedure with remaining dough wedges and sesame seeds.

5. Bake at 325° for 23 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks (about 20 minutes). Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Adapted from THE LEE BROS. CHARLESTON KITCHEN © 2013 by Matt Lee and Ted Lee. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


  1. Jeanne

    I have heard so many great things about their cookbooks. Would love to own one!

    April 29, 2013 at 5:44 pm
  2. pepcetlesot

    you’ve a terrific blog here! would you like to create some invite posts on my blog?

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    April 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm
  3. Chris Noe

    Sounds like a good cookbook.

    ezmerelda at mail dot com

    March 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm
  4. Sara Claro

    Congratulations to the two winners, Aimee Porter and Elissa Swicord!

    March 5, 2013 at 11:12 am
  5. Molly Elwell

    I’m a vegan and I love “veganizing” decadent and delicious dishes, in part because I love to eat, but also to prove the point that vegan food is GOOD food. The Lee Brother’s cookbook is just the type of down-home recipes I love to peruse to give me ideas on how to turn classic dishes into revamped vegan eats. One of my favorite classic and simple southern dishes is biscuits with sausage gravy. To make the dish vegan, I substitute vegan sausage for the meat and sear it in pure maple syrup to give it an authentic flavor. I also use a dash of liquid smoke to give it a lil sumthin’ sumthin’. Then it simmers in a sauce made with unsweetened almond milk and seasoned with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper. I whip up a batch of drop biscuits to serve the gravy on and everyone (meat eaters and veg-heads alike) happily digs in. I feel everyone needs comfort food, regardless of diet preference.

    March 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm
  6. Emily Hilliard

    One of my favorite twists on an old classic, is to add Salted Caramel Glaze to an Apple Pie: http://www.nothinginthehouse.com/2012/10/apple-pie-with-salted-caramel-glaze.html
    Normally I am not all THAT into apple pie (but I won’t turn it down, mind you, especially a homemade version), but the caramel glaze really takes it up a level, and also reminds me of the caramel apples we used to make when I was little.

    March 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm
  7. heather

    Cucumber cream cheese “tea sandwiches” — sushi style!

    March 1, 2013 at 7:46 am
  8. Joan

    My twist on a classic dish is the way I make pulled pork in my slow cooker. It’s really good and my family requests it often. What makes it different is that usually pulled pork is smoked for hours and is a lot of work. Popping a boston butt in the slow cooker with some apple cider vinegar, molasses and a splash of liquid smoke and turning it to low and leaving it to cook over night is much easier and really tasty too. The next morning I use two forks to shred or pull the meat from the bones and fat which I discard. Then I add some bbq sauce, sauteed onion, catsup, and hot sauce. Later I heat it all up and we enjoy it on sandwich rolls with all the trimmings.

    February 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm
  9. Jessica Cox RD (@jessieclairecox)

    My favorite twists are the ones that make recipes healthier. Being a Southern girl, one of my favorite dishes is collared greens. A new favorite prep method is to thinly slice the greens and sauté them with olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, a dash of Tabasco, salt and pepper. I still get great flavor in a lot less time and retain more of the nutrients from the collards by not boiling them to death. Another favorite is to make pie crusts with olive oil rather than butter. The result is a tender crust without the saturated fat, perfect for plenty other comforting Southern favorites (for me always peach pie and chicken pot pie). I moved from Charleston about 2 years ago, and would love to bring my Lowcountry favorites back to my Birmingham kitchen with the Lee Brother’s new cookbook!

    February 28, 2013 at 9:17 am
  10. Susan

    A great classic twist: portobello mushrooms instead of beef in beef stroganoff. It’s so delicous!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm

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